Language: Old English
Origin: ruh


1 adjective
rough1 S2 W3 comparative rougher, superlative roughest

not smooth

CS having an uneven surface [≠ smooth]:
Her hands were rough from hard work.
the rough terrain at the base of the mountains
We were bumping over the rough ground.

not exact

[usually before noun] not exact, not containing many details, or not in a final form [= approximate]:
a rough sketch of the house
a rough translation
Could you give me a rough idea what time you'll be home?
a rough estimate of the cost
First do a rough draft of your essay.


a rough period is one in which you have a lot of problems or difficulties [= tough]COLLOCATIONS COLLOCATIONS
a rough day/week etc rough times hit a rough patch/spot go through a rough patch/spot have a rough time (of it) be in for/face a rough ride (=be going to have a difficult time) rough going (=a period when you have a lot of difficulties)
The first year was rough, but things have gotten better.
Sounds like you had a rough day.
We've been through some rough times together.
My boyfriend and I were going through a rough patch.
The bill is in for a rough ride in the Senate.
It's been rough going, but we've almost finished now.

not gentle

using force, anger, or violence [≠ gentle]:
Rugby is a very rough sport.
Don't be too rough - she's only little.
Paul gave her a rough shake.
equipment capable of withstanding rough treatment
The referee won't allow any rough stuff (=violent behaviour).
be rough on somebody (=treat someone unkindly or criticize them in an angry way)
Don't you think you were a little rough on her?

town/area etc

a rough area is a place where there is a lot of violence or crime:
a rough part of town


DN with strong wind or storms [≠ calm]:
The ship went down in rough seas.


a) not sounding soft or gentle, and often rather unpleasant or angry:
Barton's deep, rough voice
b) C having an unpleasant sound, especially because there is something wrong with a machine:
The clutch sounds rough - better get it checked.

simple/not well made

simple and often not very well made:
a rough wooden table

not comfortable

uncomfortable, and with difficult conditions:
The journey was long and rough.

have rough edges

also be rough around the edges
a) to have some parts that are not as good as they should be, but that are not a serious problem:
The team has a few rough edges, but they're winning more games.
b) if a person is rough around the edges, they are not very polite, educated etc

rough night

a night when you did not sleep well:
Mickey had a rough night last night.

a rough deal

something that happens to you that is unfair or unpleasant:
He's had a rough deal with his wife leaving him like that.

feel rough

British English informal to feel ill

look rough

British English informal to look untidy, dirty, or unhealthy:
After travelling for two days we must have looked pretty rough.

rough and ready

not perfect, but good enough for a particular purpose:
The tests are only a rough and ready guide to a pupil's future development.

rough justice

punishment that is not decided in a court in the usual legal way, and that is often severe or unfair:
Gangs practise a kind of rough justice on their members.
roughness noun [uncountable]
rough diamond, rough paper, roughly

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